« Final Exam? | Main | "The Good Shepherd" A Review »

21 January 2007


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


NATO asks S.Arabia to join the alliance.

I agree that things will seemingly improve over the course of the next few months not only within Shia Iraq, but within Iran and Syria as well.

But it will only be skin deep.

Michael Singer

Dear Pat,
I couldn't agree more. Reading John Burns in the NYT last week left one thinking that Bush was brilliant and damn! his plan might work. And if you looked at today's NYT front age you wouldn't know that 19 more American kids died yesterday over there for no good reason.
More fuel for those hopeful will be the announcement that Sadr will send his boys back into the parlimentary process. Whoopie! Democracy is a coming, the King will say.
They are playing Bush and he is playing us, or trying anyway. It's the big lie again and again.
I think the question isthis: will John Warner ever get it and lead a group of conservatives into King George's palace and tell him to step down from the throne, the game is over.
Michael Singer


Its certainly not starting out well. 24 US troops died today. How Bush/Cheney can sleep at night throughout all of this is beyond me.


Col, damn right on both counts - please keep watching, so I don't have to. thanks!


They may choose to party in the provinces. The trouble in Najaf and Karbala is ominous.

24 dead. The surge has begun. RIP.


I found Liebermann outright scary in an Interview with Imus, replying on the question about wether there is a Plan B for the surge:


Imus: "Well what happens when this doesn't work which is what is going to happen."

Sen. Joe Lieberman: "Well, let's hope and pray it works."

Imus: "No, I know but it's not going to."

Sen. Joe Lieberman: "No..."
Imus: "You really haven't answered, well not really, you haven't answered my question, and my question is what happens, what's plan B? What happens--"

Sen. Joe Lieberman: "Yeah."

Imus: "...When this doesn't work?"

Sen. Joe Lieberman: "Yeah."

Imus: "I know we hope and pray it does work. Of course we do."

Sen. Joe Lieberman: "Yeah"

Imus: "I hope and pray I win the lottery."
Sen. Joe Lieberman: ... Let's hope it works, pray it works, and if it doesn't, then we'll figure out what we're gonna do then."


It's absolutely embarassing. That the man isn't ashamed of himself in the slightest ... 'Uh, you know, escalation is basically the only idea we got. So that's our plan now.' The man is talking about war, where an entire army and the lives of soldiers, not to mention the lives of the Iraqis, are at stake and that's as good as he gets?

Next interviews highlight: Liebermann expects Army Wenck to save Baghdads Green Zone, announces V weapon (V for victory, for a change) program to defeat insurgency.


Sounds right to me, Col. Lang. I remember a few too many officers who did not appear to be living to a higher standard, but my acquaintance was far briefer and likely less wide-ranging and thorough than yours.

I would appreciate more of your thoughts on this, should there be kairos. We hear talk of the effects on the Armed Forces, but little substance beyond the mention of it.

U. S. MSM: all wide and an inch deep.


Col. Lang: Soldiers are held to a higher standard because--in sharp contrast to the civilian leadership of the Pentagon--we actually trust and respect them.


Col. Lang,

You make an excellent point about the militias.

However, I have to make an observation: Is it in the Bush Administrations interest for the militias to quieten down and sort of slither away?

I'm not sure it is, if one subscribes to conspiracy theories and believes an attack on Iran is imminent.

I would welcome your thoughts, I would expect that we would like is for the Mahdi army to come out fighting so that we can proceed to defeat them in the mother of all firefights.


Maybe I have said this here before --

When ever someone says let us Hope. My response is that Hope is neither a good (military/business) plan or method of birth control. I know people consider me a hard ass.

When I see Lieberman on the TV I have to mute the freaking thing before I blow across the room. Just what a poor bunch of leaders we have in this country.

There has just been far too much Hoping that things will work out the last 15 years.

Colonel, I see that the Dems are going to have Jim Webb speak after the State of the Union. Do you think this is the powers behind the throne saying this is a guy who has electability for the Dems as top dog?

Margaret Steinfels

Just to be able to follow the debate: What did Casey specifically say/do that bars him from Senate cofirmation and appointment as what, Secretary of the Army?

Margaret Steinfels

I ask the question because on "Meet the Press" today McCain said he was unlikely to vote to confirm, and Kennedy said he was waiting to see what the general had to say....


"As to the mode of terminating the war and securing peace, the president is equally wandering and indefinite.

"First, it is to be done by a more vigorous prosecution of the war in the vital parts of the enemy's country; and, after apparently talking himself tired on this point, the president drops down into a half despairing tone, and tells us that 'with a people distracted and divided by contending factions, and a government subject to constant changes, by successive revolutions, the continued success of our arms may fail to secure a satisfactory peace'.

"Then he suggests the propriety of wheedling the Mexican people to desert the counsels of their own leaders and, trusting in our protection, to set up a government from which we can secure a satisfactory peace, telling us, that 'this may become the only mode of obtaining such a peace'.

"But soon he falls into doubt of this too, and then drops back on to the already half abandoned ground of 'more vigorous prosecution'. All this shows that the president is, in no ways, satisfied with his own positions.

"First he takes up one and, in attempting to argue us into it, he argues himself out of it; then seizes another, and goes through the same process, and then, confused at being able to think of nothing new, he snatches up the old one again, which he has some time before cast off. His mind, tasked beyond its power, is running hither and thither, like some tortured creature on a burning surface, finding no position on which it can settle down and be at ease."

Congressman Abraham Lincoln in 1848 on President James Polks war with Mexico.

The more things change......


Casey should wear perfume and lace under his uniform if he's going to make statements like he did this week. Is there a Victoria's Secret for generals?

Frank Durkee

Col. What in your view is the import of and likely outcome of the reports that Maliki has said the Madhi Army is fair game? Does it represent the fact that a sufficient number of Sunnis have been pushed out of there of Baghdad; or that Iranians don't want a strong nationalist to become the Shite hero; or is it some sort of sham or half hearted aquiesence to our pressure?


-the problem is the insurgents can choose the time and place of the fight
-i think we can expect things to hot up in fallujah as more and more us troops enter baghdad
-but on the brighter side maybe the 5-6 months calm on the streets of baghdad would give enough time to get some sort of reconstruction and job creation programme going that would stabilize iraq in the long run

4 billion

Trouble is the Mahdi army cannot stand down, because the Sunni will use it as an opportunity to step up activity, unless of course they have been told to stand down as well, but why should they?, this is a perfect time to stress Maliki/Sadr allegiance.

Different Clue

My first thought is..a Representative or a Senator can only be as misleadable as he or she desires to be and chooses to be. As Homer
Simpson once told his daughter: "Lisa, it takes 2 people to lie. One to lie, and one to listen."
My second thought, a little bit tinfoily, is...what compromising information might the Bush Administration operatives have on certain Members of Congress? What were those "warrantless wiretaps"
really for, really? Can some of our Elected Representatives be leaned upon or squeezed?
My third thought is, might some of the Democratic
Representatives and Senators
be genuinely concerned about
that anthrax which was mailed to Daschle and Leahy?
Might they be afraid of getting some more of it in the mail themselves if they don't vote the way the Bush Administration and certain key Republicans want them to


What's more ominous about the "surge" is that it takes place slap bang in the middle of Muharram, a time of introspection about the between truth personnified by Imam Hussain, his family and followers and the darkness of Yazid. It wouldn't take much for someone to compare the US and Great Britain to the latter and rallying cry to remember Ashura for all hell to break loose.


“WALLACE: According to the National Exit Poll, 67 percent said the war was either very or extremely important to their vote, and only 17 percent supported sending in more troops.

By taking the policy you have, haven't you, Mr. Vice President, ignored the express will of the American people in the November election?

CHENEY: Well, Chris, this president, and I don't think any president worth his salt, can afford to make decisions of this magnitude according to the polls. The polls change day by day...

WALLACE: Well, this was an election, sir.

CHENEY: Polls change day by day, week by week. I think the vast majority of Americans want the right outcome in Iraq. The challenge for us is to be able to provide that. But you cannot simply stick your finger up in the wind and say, "Gee, public opinion's against; we'd better quit."

That is part and parcel of the underlying fundamental strategy that our adversaries believe afflicts the United States. They are convinced that the current debate in the Congress, that the election campaign last fall, all of that, is evidence that they're right when they say the United States doesn't have the stomach for the fight in this long war against terror.

They believe it. They look at past evidence of it: in Lebanon in '83 and Somalia in '93, Vietnam before that. They're convinced that the United States will, in fact, pack it in and go home if they just kill enough of us. They can't beat us in a stand-up fight, but they think they can break our will.
And if we have a president who looks at the polls and sees the polls are going south and concludes, "Oh, my goodness, we have to quit," all it will do is validate the Al Qaeda view of the world.

It's exactly the wrong thing to do. This president does not make policy based on public opinion polls; he should not. It's absolutely essential here that we get it right.”

The above outlines the conundrum in which we find ourselves perfectly. Perhaps, the whole point of the war was to replay Vietnam, but with a new ending. In Vietnam the US withdrew under pressure from PUBLIC OPINION! The US was weak not because it lacked a military power to smash and burn the opponent, but because it had to deal with a fickle and impressionable public at home. An alternative solution is to ignore the will of the public and to reinforce the power of the president, to make him more of an emperor. Perhaps, the vise president does see himself as an American patriot; after all he wants to make this country stronger.

The unitary executive doctrine is the legalistic expression of a “strong presidency”. From other sources: “The unitary executive doctrine arises out of a theory called "departmentalism," or "coordinate construction." According to legal scholars Christopher Yoo, Steven Calabresi, and Anthony Colangelo, the coordinate construction approach "holds that all three branches of the federal government have the power and duty to interpret the Constitution." According to this theory, the president may (and indeed, must) interpret laws, equally as much as the courts.”

The problem of course is with the political system. What does it do to the political system? Is the American democratic system really weak that it requires, indeed demands, a strong near imperial presidency?

DeWitt Grey


There are very few civilians responsible for this disaster who have offered themselves up for Senate confirmation for a new post -- they should be held to the same standard as General Casey.

It is inevitable, particularly for those of us of a certain age, to hearken back to George C. Marshall and Dwight Eisenhower and their level-headed and unsentimental, and relatively apolitical, approach to command. By that standard, General Casey would be headed to the retired list.

But the same Army that advanced Omar Bradley also advanced Mark Clark (although it is perhaps no accident that he was passed over for the post of Chief of Staff of the Army). I question whether the Army can begin to regenerate itself so long as the current corrupt Administration remains in office -- I have no confidence in their ability to choose the right officer.

Peter Principle

"They may choose to party in the provinces. The trouble in Najaf and Karbala is ominous."

When your enemy publicly announces to the world that he wants to fight you in the streets of Baghdad, taking the battle somewhere else kind of seems like the obvious move. The Sadrists surely understand this, even if the Cheney Administration and the Pentagon have forgotten everything they never knew about strategy and tactics.

W. Patrick Lang

Frank Durkee

I think it likely that this is a "half-hearted ploy" intended to blunt our efforts against the shia through apparent cooperation.

We will see if he is willing to endorse the use of a lot of force in Shia neighborhoods. pl

W. Patrick Lang


Casey is nominated to be Chief of Staff of the Army. That would make him the institutional head of the Army. No one cares who is the civilian Secretary of the army, but the CoS has a place in the minds of soldiers akin to the head of a religious order.

What did he do? In my opinion, he lied. pl


al-Sadr may lay low for a few weeks, but expect him back soon. In an interview with LaRepubblica he said:
"[Q3] Do you mean you are going to disarm?

[A3] The Qur’án forbids killing in the month of Muharram [21 January through 18 February 2007]. So they'll do all the killing then. There is no better time for a true believer to die, Paradise is guaranteed. But God is merciful, we are not all going to die. After Muharram, we'll see."


We'll see ...

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

September 2020

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30      
Blog powered by Typepad